Traveling Salvation Show

I got into The Jayhawks kind of by mistake. I was killing a lunch hour at Tower Books when I heard a song that I thought was a new Lindsey Buckingham tune. When I went to ask one of the clerks about it, I found it it was the then new Jayhawks album, Tomorrow The Green Grass. After hearing about three songs, I walked across the parking lot to Tower Records and bought it. It's been one of my favorite albums ever since.

It seems to be my curse that I get into a band just before they breakup; Marc Olson quit The Jayhawks a year after that album was released. Though they carried on without him and made some good records, it wasn't the same. Part of their appeal was that most of the songs were sung in harmony. Gary Louris and Olson's vocals blended together so well that you almost couldn't tell who was singing lead. And of course in any band where there are two songwriters, the members are pushed to greater creative heights. They were definitely a case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.

After leaving the band, Olson moved to the California desert with his now ex-wife, Victoria Williams, and released several lo-fi home recorded albums under the name The Original Harmony Ridge Creek Dippers. Much like the post-Olson Jayhawks material, it was good, but it lacked the magic that made The Jayhawks so special.

Three years after the last Creek Dippers album, Olson has released his first true solo record. And for people like me who miss the Jayhawks, it's worth checking out. Not only does it feature a much more lush, polished sound, it also features Louris singing harmony on several tracks. The couple of songs I've heard so far definitely sound like a welcome return to form for one of the true pillars of the alt-country movement.

Marc Olson plays twice in Nashville on Monday, September 10. He'll be doing an instore at Grimey's at 4:45 pm, and then he and his band take to the stage at 3rd & Lindsley for an early show at 7 pm. There's also a great article on him in this week's Nashville Scene.

Mark Olson - "Clifton Bridge" (mp3) from Salvation Blues
The Original Harmony Ridge Creek Dippers - "She Picks The Violets" (mp3) from The Original Harmony Ridge Creek Dippers
The Jayhawks - "Ten Little Kids" (mp3) from Tomorrow The Green Grass

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